My friend Scott claims that I’m too hard on myself. He’s only partly correct. Yes, I am hard on myself. But I’m also very honest.
I’ve long used self-deprication as a means of mitigating awkward moments. I make dergatory jokes about myself to ensure that people don’t think that my head is too big. I paint myself in a foolish light in an attempt to talk about uncomfortable things more comfortably.
By and large, this works fairly well. When it’s funny, it’s well received. But at least one person thinks that my self-deprication will lead to a negative self-image in general. She’s afraid that all my constant self-mocking will lead me to devalue myself, and underplay my own worth.
I don’t think there’s too much chance of that, though. I know what my strong points are, and I’m not ashamed to talk about them. I’m not afraid to blow my own horn when it’s necessary. And I know that there are people on this planet who love me, regardless of what I say or do. There was a time, many moons ago, when I did have a very poor sense of self-worth. My self-deprication then was fairly indicative of the way I really felt. But through friends and family, I’ve learned to mitigate my embarassement and feelings of shame, worthlessness, and isolation. The vocal self-deprication has been altered from a statement of my belief, to a good natured self-parody, if you will.
I am hard on myself, and I do critically evaluate my life on a regular basis.But I try very hard not to sugar coat things; for myself or for others. My family has been upset with me for a long time over the fact that I don’t cushion the truth for people. I generally lay it all out, and let the facts speak for themselves.
It’s been my experience that many people are uncomfortable with this means of communication. The raw facts make people uneasy. Difficult things should be skirted around, and only spoken of in vaguaries. I don’t often like to do this. I like to call a spade a spade. If I see a weakness in myself, I call it a weakness and deal with it as such. It’s not a character flaw, or a phase, or anything else. It’s a weakness. I speak of other people’s weaknesses in the same fashion. This generally makes them uncomfortable.
And rightly so. For who am I to make judgements on another person’s weaknesses? My previous discussion of hypocrisy underscores this fact. I was not being overly negative of myself, but rather taking an honest evaluation of something about myself that I am not pleased with. I accept full responsibility for this bit of my personality. I don’t blame my parents, my environment, the terrible children in my grade school who tormented me on a daily basis, or any other person or thing in my life. It is my cross to bear, and I can never overcome it if I do not acknowledge it.